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Schreiber, Joe (Supernatural: The Unholy Cause)

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Joe Schreiber Talks Supernatural: The Unholy CauseAuthor Joe Schreiber is probably best known as the man that brought horror to the Star Wars universe with his novel Death Troopers. He’s decided to bring his brand of chills to another universe we love quite a bit here at Dread Central: the world of the Winchesters and “Supernatural”.

With his first “Supernatural” novel, The Unholy Cause, he takes Sam and Dean down to Georgia, where they don’t exactly meet the devil, but they come awfully close. I was able to ask Joe a few questions about the book and his other work.


Mr. Dark: How familiar were you with the “Supernatural” world before you decided to write The Unholy Cause?

Joe Schreiber: Not very. I think I watched part of the pilot episode online a few years ago, “The Woman in White”. That was it. So when the opportunity to write this novel came along, I put myself through a crash course of scripts, season boxed sets, and episode guides until I had the tone and characters of the series down to my own satisfaction.

MD: You’ve done work in established universes before, and you have entirely original horror novels of your own. How does the pre-existing universe work compare to writing your own original books? Is it easier, harder?

JS: After the initial getting-to-know-you technicalities, it’s actually not all that different. The challenges are basically the same … crawling inside the narrative world, hanging the lights, and finding a way to make it fun for myself first and foremost. After that it doesn’t feel like work anymore — it’s like that point at a party when all the guests have arrived and the thing takes on a life of its own. But until you get to that point, it’s rat-bastard panic, where you’re like, “Is ANYBODY having a good time?”

MD: This novel clearly takes place during the current season of the show. How much detail about this season’s arc did they have to give you in order to ensure its proper place in the canon? How difficult was it to work within that tight framework (what had happened, what had yet to happen) before the season was finished and still tell your story?

Joe Schreiber Talks Supernatural: The Unholy CauseJS: It wasn’t always easy. At one point, at the beginning of the season, Sam and Dean weren’t even together. I was like, how am I supposed to approach this? You’re like the child of divorced parents hoping it all works out. They were sending me drafts of scripts that hadn’t even been filmed yet, and we were all holding our breath and basically hoping for the best.

MD: How much room did you have to play in the “Supernatural” universe? Obviously you’re not going to haul off and kill Castiel or anything that dire, but you definitely got to add to some of the major elements of this season’s arc. Tell us a little about how you interacted with the folks from the show while laying out the plot for the book.

JS: If I had specific mythology questions along the way, I usually got answers pretty quickly from the production company — demons, ghosts, corpses, etc., what I could and couldn’t use — either because it wasn’t kosher, or they were planning on doing something similar themselves on the show. There were a few details that didn’t get corrected until I turned in my first draft and at least one night in a hotel room in Tulsa where I basically drank a six-pack of Blue Moon beer and beat my head against the desk trying to figure out how to explain the corner that I’d painted myself into … but in the morning it was all right.

MD: This story is based in the world of Civil War re-enactors and history buffs. What lead you to use that as the setting for the book?

JS: I really have no idea. To be honest, it may have come from a throwaway line from “The Simpsons” where Homer talks about being rich enough to have the Civil War re-enacted by monkeys. Or possibly not. Initially I tossed the idea out there thinking that nobody would like it, but it turned out to be the one that everybody liked, so I had to get serious about it.

MD: Without giving too much away, the Judas Knot and the whole concept of dark magical doings during the end of the Civil War play a major role in the novel. Where did you get the inspiration for those elements?

JS: I just really love the whole idea of ancient, esoteric religious arcana, the more far-flung, the better. For example, I got into this whole phase a few years ago for no good reason where I started tracking down places in the world that claimed to have pieces of the one true cross. There’s a lot of them. So I started trying to imagine some of the crazier things that could potentially be floating out there and trying to make them fit into this idea that I was desperately attempting to make work.

MD: I got the idea while reading the book that you enjoyed writing for Dean a little more than you enjoyed writing for Sam; am I right on that? Dean just seems to get all the best lines! (And rightly so … not that I have an opinion or anything.)

JS: That’s probably true. I’m not really sure. I do know that it’s always easier to write smartass dialogue than intelligent “straight” conversation. The two of them definitely riff off each other well in the show, and I tried to tune a ventriloquist’s ear in that direction.

MD: So far your novels have been horror tales, and you’ve also brought horror into the Star Wars universe, where it didn’t exist before. Are there any other existing properties you’d like to spice up with some thrills and chills?

JS: I’d like to do a Batman horror novel that takes place outside Gotham City with Bruce Wayne investigating some cold case, a girl’s disappearance, that leads him into some horrific small town ritualistic behavior. It would be like Bob Kane meets Shirley Jackson.

MD: Yes, please! What’s up next for you? Any thoughts of revisiting Sam and Dean in the future?

JS: Apparently there are going to be more “Supernatural” books coming up, so we’ll see. I’ve got another Star Wars horror novel coming out at the end of January, I know that. And about half a dozen unfinished books that I need to go back and either rescue or euthanize, depending. I’m perpetually backlogged that way.

MD: My traditional final question: What’s your favorite horror movie, and why?

JS: Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about The Descent. I watched it again with a friend, and listening to her scream in the scary parts was like being on performance enhancing drugs. There’s a lot to love about that movie.


Thanks to Joe for taking the time to talk to us! Be sure to check out our review of Supernatural: The Unholy Cause, and pick up the book directly from the EvilShop below!

Mr. Dark

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Jesper Kyd Returning to Score Vermintide 2

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From the cover of Kyd's first Vermintide OST

Get your headphones ready, Warhammer fans because State of Decay and Darksiders 2 composer Jesper Kyd is back to score the upcoming Warhammer title Vermintide 2! The game will be coming to PC and consoles early this year.

Kyd was inspired by Norse mythology, utilizing ancient tribal music as well as dark fantastical elements to build upon the acoustic soundscapes he composed for the first Vermintide game. Channeling his own Scandinavian roots, Kyd will blend Viking and Norse-inspired vocals with ritualistic percussion styles to create a unique soundtrack experience.

Three tracks from the score can be heard below.

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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